Cold Hands, Warm Heart

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Nome, Alaska, United States
After getting burned out teaching high school in a tiny Alaskan town, I have moved on to being a child advocate in a small Alaskan town. The struggles are similar, but now I can buy milk at the store.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

10 Ten Reasons. . . Grown-Up Version

My previous students have been stopping by the school lately. I've been told repeatedly that they miss school, and wish they could come back. 

The funniest part is when they used to tell me how the couldn't wait to be a grown-up, and do all the grown-up things they wanted. Well, here's a couple lists about being a grown-up, from yours truly.

Why Being a Grown-Up Isn't All It's Cracked Up To Be:

1  Can't call mom and dad to bail me out when I screw up.
2  Have to make my own doctors appointments.
3  Sure, I can go to sleep when I want, but I have to get myself up too.
4  I can no longer use the phrase "I'm just a kid" when I get in trouble.
5  I can buy anything I want, but actually have to deal with the bills.
6  Paying for insurance.
7  I get a big rebate on my taxes, of course, I have to pay taxes.
8  No one is here to take care of me when I get sick.
9  I can cook anything I want for dinner, but I have to wash all the dishes.
10 I get paid sick days, but it takes more work to be sick than to just go to work. 

Why Being a Grown-Up Is Awesome:

1 Cake for dinner.
2 Get to win the mayo vs miracle whip.
3 Unilateral control of the remote (well, as long as you live alone, or with 3 dogs).
4 If I'm sick, I don't have to convince anyone of it, I can just call in.
5 Don't need a note from my mother to buy something/ go somewhere/ come in late.
6 Set your own bedtime.

Sorry guys, that's all I've got.

Monday, April 25, 2011

What I would like to do is kick things...

...but because I'm at school, I will simply share this with you, devoted fan:

-Teachers are not stupid, nor are we blind. We see the cheating, the cell phones, and the notes being passed around.

-We are not "out to get you" or "picking on you unfairly."

-We understand how important your friends are, but will not let you put them before your education while you are in our room. If this means you get moved to another table, so be it.

-We are human. Sometimes we get tired. Sometimes we get grumpy. Sometimes we spell a word wrong on a letter home. (Sometimes we sign letters as the "Cheer Coack" ) It doesn't mean we care for you less, it just means we're busy.

-We don't appreciate comments about how it must be nice to have summers off. I consider summers as compensation for all the 60 - 80 hour work weeks I put in during the winter.

-Just because I hold a position of authority in the school does not mean I should be the one to "tell those kids over there to sit down." If you want them to sit down, tell them. Or tell their parents.

-We get the dirty joke. We've just trained ourselves not to laugh until we're out of earshot.

-We are fully aware that you are trying to drag us off topic. We see through your whole bag of tricks. However, sometimes we would rather talk about prom plans than particle objects too.

-We don't like research papers either. But they have to be done. So let's not drag it out any more than we have to.

-Weekends are my weekends too. As are early outs, and holidays. Please don't come in on Monday morning and ask me if I've graded something you turned in on Friday afternoon. I haven't.

-I get to have pop/coffee in the morning/ during class/ at my desk because I have a bachelors degree, and am an employee of the school. When you accomplish one of those two things, I'll let you wander around with pop in the morning too.

-I will give you all the pencils, paper, markers, and crayons you want. Please leave the pens in my desk alone. I only have 12, and I'd like to keep them. If you want pens, buy your own.

-Sometimes I just want to sit down and watch the funny things at the assemblies without spending half my time trying to get you to pay attention.

Most of these things do not apply to most students. Most of these things don't happen on most days. But sometimes they do, and then I just want to kick things.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Spring Carnival

Okay, so I've been neglecting you, devoted fan. And I'm sorry. Apparently not sorry enough to write sooner, but sorry nonetheless. (Is that really one word? Spellcheck says it's one word.)

Over Spring Carnival, we took in almost $10,000 working in the kitchen. It could have been more had we gotten more pizza, and nacho cheese. The pizza had to do with the big store not having more when I went in there last time, and the nacho cheese was an oversight in ordering. However, we didn't start running out of anything until Saturday, including nacho trays, which made life interesting.  By the end of the day, we had run out of:

Ice cream
Nacho cheese
Nacho trays (does anyone want to buy some tortilla chips?)
Bags of Doritos
Peanut M&M's (actually, almost all of our candy. We simply have one box of Milky Ways, and three boxes of Nerd Ropes, and some giant jawbreakers)
Gatoraide, pop, juice, flavored water, regular water, tiki punch, and anything else for drinking.
Popcorn bags, (so we bought some cotton candy bags off the 8th graders) followed by popcorn seed. (does anyone want to buy a gallon of popcorn oil?)

We still have several hundred paper plates, red and white food trays, corn dogs, a gallon of regular oil, and a 50 lbs bag of flour. Looks like we should make some maple bars. Oh, wait. We raffled off our brand new bottle of maple flavoring.

The kids are exhausted. I'm exhausted. Our supplies are exhausted. The cash box is a giant fatty. (Not really true, we turned the money in. Don't break in to the school, it's not here anymore.)

Now all we have left to do for the senior trip is buy some plane tickets, and pay the rest of our trip fee. I'm super stoked. Or at least I will be, once I catch up on my sleep.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

That time of the year, again.

Well, as I type this, at 10:30 at night, it is still light out. It'll be light out until almost 11. I won't see that, since I'm already in bed (more because Amy is gone, and there's internet in here, but let's all pretend it's because I'm concerned with my sleep habits.) When I woke up this morning at 7:30, it was light outside.

And what does this mean? Pretty soon is will be light until midnight. And starting on that day, it will be light from before I wake up until after I go to sleep. Good-bye darkness. It is always best, when flying from Nome to Anchorage, to be sitting near someone else whose been living up here as long as I have. The day trippers don't realize how living with no darkness can mess with one. When the phone rings at three in the morning, but it's light outside, I get all sorts of discombobulated, and fear that I've slept into the school day.

I know that I've probably talked about this before, but it's the time of the year when this affects everyone up here. When I was locking the door for the night a while ago, I saw a bunch of 10-13 year old girls walking around outside. Since it was still light outside, their internal clocks had not yet told them to go to bed.

And, because I haven't posted many pictures lately, here's one of a couple girls trying on prom dresses at my house today:

Friday, April 1, 2011


I occasionally walk into the neighboring classroom and announce to Bob, "You will not believe this adventure I just had." And he sort of sighs and asks, "What happened this time?" So then I spew my craziness all over the room with my ranting and tearing up and wild hand gestures.

Today, to save Bob from this little slice of crazy, I'm going to share my Alaska adventure with you. Besides, isn't that the point of this blog? To let everyone down there feel better about not living up here. So here goes:

Because I like shopping for pretty things, and because I feel bad for my girls when they buy clothes online that are the wrong size and too long, I have started hitting thrift stores in the summer and buying prom dresses. Then I ship them up here, and sell them to the girls, pretty much at cost.

I have no real reason to keep these dresses in my house all year. Instead, they got boxed up and put in an external storage shed when we moved into the house, and they've sat there quietly for the last six months. Yesterday I decided it was time to dig them out. Prom is in 6 weeks, and if girls are going to try on dresses and buy one instead of ordering, it needs to happen soon.

When I went outside to open the door, I found a snow drift blocking my way, which, while anticipated, was less than thrilling. As I dug out the snow, some of which had frozen into chunks of ice, I realized that the job wasn't going to be as hard as I had first assumed. The actual door to the shed is built off the ground a bit. Under the snow there are actually two steps going up to the opening. This allowed me to get the door open without having to dig down to the ground, which saved a TON of time.

I got the first tup out just fine. Then I took a break, went to a birthday party, watched an episode of Bones, and waited for Amy to come home. She told me that while she showered, I should go get the rest. I told her I'd rather sit on my aekucq and play video games. (You can translate that one all on your own.) She reminded me that I'd have to do it sooner or later, so I gave in.

Tubs two, three, and four had no problems at all. However, when I went back to close the door, my foot hit a soft spot. I'd broken through the top layer of ice, and hit the powder below. I sunk in to at least my knee, and I was only wearing a skirt, so it was bare skin on snow.

I gave a pretty primitive howl, and the began to assess the situation. I was able to scoot my other foot back under me, get it on some solid ground, and pull myself out of the hole. My boot even came up with me. Not like the time my foot fell in a hole and my boot stayed behind and I had to have a kid run to my house and get my shovel and did my boot out because it WOULD. NOT. BUDGE. Nope, not this time, the boot came out too.

Unfortunately, I hadn't actually laced my boot up as tight as I could have. Mostly because I hate tying them, and this way I can slip them on and off like big comfy slippers. That big comfy slipper theory also means that when I sink my foot into three feet of snow, some of that snow is going to get in the boot. Also, some of the chunks of ice that I fell through.

I got my foot and boot out, locked the shed door, grabbed the tubs, and made a break for the house. (Okay, the front door was only like 15 feet away, but I had snow in my boot!) As soon as I got into the arctic entry, that boot came off. Once I got into my house proper the other boot came off, and I went to sit in my chair with my feet tucked under me.

Once I'd warmed up, I thought I was able to put the whole thing behind me. And I was, until this morning. I got up, got dressed, and was putting my first boot on when I remembered that I'd left my other boot out in the kunituq (arctic entry). When I went to get it, I was rather bluntly reminded that the temperatures in the arctic entry reflect the external temperature of the world, and not the internal temperature of the house, and to make a really long story short: There was snow in my boot when I tried to put it on this morning.

I scraped out all I could, but it was still a pretty wet, cold walk to school. As soon as I got into the building, I pulled that boot off, and walked to my classroom with a boot in my hand, and one on my foot. It's nice to know that I switch into my sandals every day while I'm at school. If I had to wear that wet boot all day, I'd be rather sad and grumpy.

Today's dose of crazy is brought to you by the Cabela's, snow, and Mountain Dew.